My son has taken to building “Rolling Ball Sculptures”, also known as marble mazes in the last couple of months. He built one or two of these several years ago on a lark, and lately he’s revisited it with a passion. He will go out in the shop any chance he gets, bending and twisting bits of 6 gauge copper wire to create complex runs.
His early projects were simple downhills, and with each one he’s added more interesting ball movements, gates and drops. On this one he formed two copper pans from sheet — all without any coaching or guidance from me. Everything is soldered together with common lead-free plumbers solder, which makes complex joints tricky without un-soldering something he’s done previously. But he keeps at it, revising and modifying until he’s happy with it.
This track includes two completely separate runs, a ball switcher to toggle between two paths, and a ball lowering device he designed in addition to the two copper drop pans. Pretty cool stuff.
Next he wants to incorporate a ball lift so it can continuously cycle marbles. He’s started building a prototype lift, and it’s kind of challenging — but I expect he will figure it out before long. I’m really proud of what he’s done all by himself.